Dec. 1, 2021
Headshot of Lily Tees

Name: Lily Tees

Majors: Veterinary Science (Applied Animal Behavior Emphasis)

Minor: Biochemistry

Year in school: Senior

Hometown: Oro Valley, Arizona

Clubs/Organizations: Outside of school I am busy with two jobs: I work as a veterinary assistant and as a competitive swim coach. I am an active volunteer at Pima Animal Care Center.

Leisure Pursuits: I love teaching swim lessons to kids and adults in my free time and spending time with my dogs, Scout and Freeway!

Research Projects:  I've worked as a research assistant at the Arizona Canine Cognition Center and I am currently working on my honors thesis with Dr. MacLean and Dr. Coppola. My thesis examines the effect of stress on cognition in shelter dogs. I record the behavior of dogs in their kennels at the Humane Society and code these videos to assess the frequency of stress-related behaviors. Each week I select dogs to participate in a cognitive task involving memory. I predict to see a correlation between stress level and performance on the cognitive task in shelter dogs. I hope to gain more insight into behavioral indicators of stress and enrichment initiatives for shelter dogs from my project.

Plans after graduation: I plan to attend veterinary school after graduation to obtain my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. I hope to become a shelter veterinarian to treat homeless pets.


What has been your favorite Honors course or experience that you have been involved with?

The companion animal behavior courses I have taken with Dr. Coppola have been the most influential to me. I have learned that there is so much more to veterinary medicine than I once thought there was and I am inspired to pursue animal behavior as a specialty within veterinary medicine. These courses were the most engaging of my undergraduate experience and have greatly improved my writing, critical thinking, and presentation skills.

What is something you have done during your time at the University of Arizona of which you are especially proud?

I traveled to Guatemala last summer with the Vida Club at U of A to provide free spay/neuter surgeries to pets in underserved communities. It was incredible to see how much of an impact our team made in a short time.

What message do you have for other Honors students on finding their own success?

I encourage other Honors students to get to know their professors early on. They can be an invaluable resource and guide you to unique opportunities within your major. Be sure to take advantage of any research opportunities!


"I first became acquainted with Lily almost four years ago when she contacted me about a Freshman Honors Project. Her request was a bit unusual in that Freshman aren’t normally ready for a research project and Lily had not been enrolled in one of my classes before. Despite not knowing Lily, I agreed to meet with her, and I was immediately impressed with her maturity, professionalism, and steadfast determination to become a Veterinarian.

Her ability to prioritize what is most important and necessary is a skill I have observed in her many times. She is level-headed and objective in her analysis of what steps need to be completed to achieve her ultimate goal of Vet School. She does not over-commit, over-extend or over-promise. She also doesn’t make excuses. She simply sets her mind to the task and completes it, quite well with little oversight required.

In my applied animal behavior courses, Lily was always one of my highest achievers, quite frequently I set the upper bar for grading using her submission. I often used her assignment submissions as examples for subsequent classes. I also used her progress as a barometer for my own teaching. I could almost guarantee that if Lily struggled with understanding the concept (which didn’t happen often) it meant that as a teacher, I did not teach it clearly enough. And while Lily’s intellectual ability is well documented in her transcripts and her academic success is rightfully earned, what might not be documented in her transcripts is just how much of a pleasure Lily is to teach. She is that student that you might not notice at first because she can be soft spoken but once you realize her potential, it is limitless!"

– Crista Coppola, Assistant Professor of Practice, Veterinary Sciences


To nominate a peer for the Franke Honors Student Spotlight, please click HERE and complete the submission form. All nominations are subject to Honors College faculty review, approval, and editing for publication.